Jefferson 'cold cash' blamed on FBI sting
Defense sees bid to set him up
By Kristi Jourdan THE WASHINGTON TIMES | Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The attorney for William J. Jefferson tackled the "elephant in the room" in opening statements Tuesday, explaining the notorious $90,000 "cold cash" discovered in the former congressman's freezer as an FBI setup bid. Prosecutors, for their part, painted a portrait of a debt-ridden man selling out the public good.
In his opening speech in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Jefferson attorney Robert Trout addressed the best-known detail in the case - the marked bills found by federal agents in Mr. Jefferson's freezer wrapped inside Pillsbury Pie Crust boxes. He described the money as the trial's "elephant in the room."
He said Mr. Jefferson did not commit bribery because he never passed on the money to its intended recipient - then-Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar - and he accused a Jefferson business partner, who will not be testifying during the trial, of setting up the Louisiana Democrat.